October 10, 2021

Meet the Team | Steve Dildine

userBy Steve Dildine user0 Comment

Greetings everyone. My name is Steve Dildine, and I am Outside Walla Walla’s President of Research & Discovery. Thank you for taking a moment out of your busy day to learn more about me and what I do for the website.

I was not always a trail enthusiast. There, I said it. I grew up near the base of Mount Rainier in a small, somewhat rural town. Although I did enjoy family camping trips and summers spent at my grandparents property roaming dense, westside forests, my passion was sport. I spent the bulk of my youth on two wheels. BMX racing and building backyard dirt jumps garnered most of my time. This skill has come in handy recently as I jump over the kids on my mountain bike. When not on a bike, I played baseball and a few other miscellaneous sports.

From Field to Forest

I consider myself a well-rounded athlete. I never specialized in one sport and approached any sport with a can-do attitude. My attitude, athleticism, strong work ethic, and good timing led me to Washington State University on an athletic scholarship to play football, which resulted in a brief stint with the San Francisco 49ers. So how did I transition my passion for athletics to outdoor recreation?

While at WSU, I met my wife Gwen (and technically my boss since she is Chief Exploring Officer), who was also an athlete on the volleyball team. When not in the gym, she wrote for our school paper, The Daily Evergreen. One of her assignments required us to take a hike. After a little research, we discovered Elk Creek Falls. Not long after that adventure, we went camping at Dworshack State Park. Those first few little adventures sparked over a decade’s worth of exploring all over our region.

Being in nature is both physically and mentally demanding and incredibly rewarding, which I enjoy. Just like a grueling 5 am workout, it’s hard to muster up enthusiasm at first, but once you finish there is a great sense of accomplishment.

Beyond Research & Discovery

Gwen and I moved to Walla Walla in the summer of 2009. Prior to the move, I was a personal trainer at a large gym outside of Portland, Oregon. A good friend of mine worked at a Les Scwab in western Washington and made a phone call to the Walla Walla store to see if they needed some help. I enjoyed the work at Les Schwab. It was physically active, multi-faceted, and required problem solving–similar to what I enjoy about working on Outside Walla Walla.

When our first child was born, I became a stay at home father. Once out of the diaper phase, I started my own personal training studio, Peak Fitness. Personal training just makes sense to me. As an athlete I saw a lot of people going through the motions of workouts or drills. That mentality doesn’t yield the most impactful results. I had some great strength coaches who mentored me over my athletic career. They helped me understand the “why are we doing this/ how is this making me better?”. My goal is always to provide a similar experience to my clients to set them up for health and wellness success.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by and tend to gravitate toward people with a strong work ethic. Those who are willing to put in long hours or go the extra mile knowing there is nobody watching, never feeling like recognition is deserved. I hope I’m teaching my kids to not fear failure but to meet opportunity with preparation, and that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

I recognize these qualities in our Outside Walla Walla team. We compliment each other so well, and it has really made the entire process so interesting. To say I’ve learned a ton is an understatement.

Do you have a hobby?

When not in the gym or researching our next adventure, I really enjoy riding and watching motocross. It nods to my BMX racing roots, and I like the challenge of maintaining, fixing, and rebuilding all the moving parts. I now share this hobby with my children, but our deductible is too high for Gwen to attempt.

What are your goals for Outside Walla Walla?

I really trust the journey. Gwen and I often talk about how the project might end up morphing into something completely different than the original vision. I enjoy the part I play in all of this, and there is just no chance of running out of places and experiences to research and discover–job security. My goal is to keep moving the needle on creating an outdoor recreation portal for our community, the valley, and the Blues. Our goals are ambitious, but our team definitely isn’t discouraged by hard work!

Thank you again for taking a moment to catch up with me. I’d like to introduce the next member of the Outside Walla Walla team, Katie Biagi. She is best described as our team captain, perhaps the border collie of the pack making sure we are all staying the course. She takes our crazy ideas and makes sure they turn into user-friendly applications that keep everyone exploring. I can’t wait for you to learn more about her!